Thanks to Danny Brown for pointing out this wonderful tutorial on customer service:
Archives for March 2013
Flashmob Flash Mob - Ode an die Freude ( Ode to Joy ) Beethoven Symphony No.9 classical music Published on May 31, 2012 On the 130th anniversary of the founding of Banco Sabadell we wanted to pay homage to our city by means of the campaign "Som Sabadell" (We are Sabadell) . This is the flashmob that we arranged as a final culmination with the participation of 100 people from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, the Lieder, Amics de l'Òpera and Coral Belles Arts choirs. En el 130º aniversario de la creación de Banco Sabadell hemos querido rendir un homenaje a nuestra ciudad con la campaña "Som Sabadell". Esta es la flashmob que realizamos como colofón final con la participación de más de 100 personas de la Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès y los coros Lieder y Amics de l'Òpera y la Coral Belles Arts
This email message was waiting for me when I returned home from having my Soul serviced and washed. The car, that is. Dear Judith, The service department at Peoria Kia would personally like to thank you for coming to us to have your vehicle serviced. Our goal is to offer, you, our valued customer, the best possible service in the valley. If for any reason you cannot tell your friends that you were completely satisfied with our service department, please contact myself or Andy Weatherly, our Service Manager. Your business is very important to us and we will do whatever it takes to improve and make you completely satisfied. Please do not hesitate to call, e-mail , or fax us with any questions or concerns you may have. Thank you for your time and we will see you soon. Sincerely, Andy Weatherly Service Director Peoria Kia 623-933-6900 I love my Soul!
Guest post by Paul Cohen
What's the best form of advertising? Word of mouth.
You can't put a price on it. TV commercials, billboards, radio ads and magazine spots don't come close to the power of a loyal and vocal customer base. Before the social media era, it was difficult to control and manipulate that audience, and those who tried were often found out by reporters or publishers.
In 2009, Consumerist reported that Royal Caribbean cruise lines used a marketing team to post positive reviews on various cruise-related sites. The company sought out bloggers who regularly posted in the Cruise Critic blog and who were avid cruise fans, and invited them to free cruises with hopes that they would later write positively about the company. The reviewers were known as "Royal Caribbean Champions" and led by the marketing company Customer Insight Group. However, according to Royal Caribbean Associate Vice President Bill Hayden, there was no quid pro quo involved, and the "Champions" were free to write whatever they wanted.
Nothing they did was against the law, nor was there an ethical precedent to dictate against what they were doing, but the consumer backlash did lead to some bad press when their tactics were exposed. Customers looking for authoritative reviews online didn't take kindly to the uncertainty.
Verizon's Brand Ambassadors
Fast forward four years and what was done on company review sites is now taking place in social media. Verizon, one of America's largest wireless and Internet service providers, is a great example of how brand ambassadors have evolved from Royal's practices. A method known as "pay-for-play," Verizon seeks out fiOS customers and "incentivizes" them to tweet positively about the brand and their user experience by directing followers to destinations "Verizon fiOS at Cable.tv" or using certain hash tags are other tweeters are likely to follow.
If this sounds eerily similar to the example used for Royal Caribbean, it's not. Verizon does have their brand ambassadors disclose their activity in their twitter profile bios. It's a gray area, since most followers will never see them, but it is an extra step towards transparency.
The Next Steps
Brand ambassadors aren't limited to enterprise marketing. B2C blogs and sites are ripe with how-to's and advice on soliciting brand ambassadors for your small business. Bizcommunity.com emphasizes that word or mouth and social media marketing are the media that offers an immediate two-way conversation when speaking about your brand. So finding the right people to promote your product can often be a make-or-break situation for your company's future.
Aside from finding the right people, honesty and transparency will be your two most important tools with brand ambassadors. Royal Caribbean's non-disclosure is what got them called out in the end. Some consumers might find Verizon's practices suspect, but their transparency helps keep them on the better side of the gray area. There will always be companies who try to sneak in brand promotions without disclosing incentives, but in the future we could likely see anything from "sponsored" labels to specific hash tags that notify the follower that certain promotions is paid.